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Progress on Blackburn with Darwen’s plans to address integration challenges

Published October 31, 2018 at 15:52

Plans to increase cohesion and build stronger communities within Blackburn with Darwen have taken a significant step forward.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council have agreed the priorities identified for innovative work aimed at building bridges between the borough’s diverse communities.

In March of this year Blackburn with Darwen was named in the Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy as one of five national Integration Area partners. Since then the Council has been working closely with local partners to develop its Social Integration Strategy.

The strategy aims to empower Blackburn with Darwen’s communities to work together to create a strong future for the borough. Through a series of consultation events and workshops with a wide range of local groups and organisations from across the borough, four priorities for the work have been identified.

Councillor Mohammed Khan OBE, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

We spent several months drafting our Social Integration Strategy to be certain that it accurately reflects the priorities identified through close working with our partners. Together we developed our vision for Blackburn with Darwen to become a strong, cohesive and prosperous community where everyone is treated fairly and with respect, and where diversity is valued.

I welcome the news that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government has agreed our approach, and look forward to taking it forward with partners.

The strategy’s four priorities address increasing economic prosperity for all the borough’s communities; strengthening relationships between communities; building connections between young people from diverse communities; and connecting people from disadvantaged areas to zones of employment and shared spaces.

Harry Catherall, Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, is the Interim Chair of the Shadow Local Integration Partnership. Harry added:

MHCLG has confirmed funding of £343,133 for the first year of Blackburn with Darwen’s programme, with more to come in Year Two. The next steps for us include continuing to work closely with local stakeholders to prepare for the implementation phase of the programme, by examining our desired outcomes and exploring how we can jointly deliver them.

A number of stakeholder workshops are currently taking place, ahead of an official launch of Blackburn with Darwen’s Social Integration Strategy next month.

For more information about the borough’s Social Integration programme, email integration@blackburn.gov.uk.

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